Feastivals Fieldtrip – Maastricht – Preuvenemint

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Welcome to the first Feastivals Field trip! What is a Feastivals field trip you ask? Well, there are plenty of food festivals around Amsterdam where I live, but sometimes I hear about an event outside of town either in the Netherlands or in a European country nearby that draws me. The very first Feastivals field trip it to Preuvenemint in Maastricht in the Southernmost Dutch province of Limburg.

The Field Trip:

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Straddling the Meuse river, the city of Maastricht lays claim to being one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Since the time of the Romans, it has been an important center of religion, culture, and strategic value to Northern Europe. It even holds the distinction of being the birthplace of the European Union and the Euro as the Maastricht Treaty was drafted here.

The Feastival

The 34th annual Preuvenemint

Declaring itself the largest eating festival in the Netherlands, how could I possibly say no to going to a brand new (to me) city to check it out. My first impression was confusion. This is not a food truck style affair. Instead the festival grounds were a mass of tents each representing a local restaurant or brand.  Each tent did indeed have food, but the menu at each tent was a small collection of tastes from the larger menu of the restaurant the tent was representing. Each tent also seemed to have a sizeable kitchen capable of producing much more elaborate fare than what I’m used to at an outdoor event.

The amount of square footage each tent occupied dwarfed what each truck would take up in a food truck festival and each was filled to the brim with bars and high top tables. This was quite confusing to me until I started talking to locals to get an understanding of what this festival is all about. While food is, forgive the pun, on the menu, this is much more of a drinkers event. When I came back to the square in the evening the place was slammed with locals dressed to the nines yucking it up and drinking waaaay more than they were eating. To each their own of course, but I came for the food.

The Contenders

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The Noms:

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A “water cocktail” called the Dragon Bite. It’s becoming a trend that I start the day with a drink, and this concoction of dragonfruit, watermelon, and crushed ice was quite nice.
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Tartar van Zalm (Salmon) from Haselderhof. This light, zesty salmon tartar was surrounded in a cloud of foam comprised of chives and creme fraiche.
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A two meat shawarma from 2Taste. This was a “gold standard” shawarma, not amazing but satisfying. This was my third dish at the event and while not disappointing, it steered me back toward more “fancy” cuisine like the nice salmon I had before.
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Landhoen met saus van tom kha kai from Le Bon Vivant. I tender mound of pulled chicken meat and greens topped with a reduced soy sauce. In the corner there is a cream, like butter, with all the flavors (coconut, lemongrass, lime, fish sauce) of the classic Thai chicken soup tom kha gai.
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Flammkuchen met gerookte Livar ham from Vanille – Flammkuchen! As I’ve declared before, I think this is the next big food in the food truck scene. A deliciously thin German-style pizza topped with white sauce, thin sliced onions, and ham in this case. I’ll admit I prefer the classic lardons (bacon pieces) over the ham because the whole piece of ham often comes away when you try to eat this, but it was very well prepared.
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Bonus shot of the flammkuchen preparation station.
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The “Chocolate Ball” dame blanche from Vivendum and Toutafait – A chocolate sphere containing vanilla ice cream atop a bed of crushed cookie topped with a melted chocolate sauce. This beautiful dish was hampered by the fact that the sphere wasn’t sealed very well. It immediately separated into two half spheres when I tried to open it, but it was totally tasty.

The Winners:

Best Food:

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As the movie Ratatouille teaches us, the best food is food that evokes memory. This dish blew me away because it included an element in the form of the tom kha kai cream/mouse/dream that just rocked my world. I often cook this Thai soup at home and I know its flavors very well. This dish delivered on transforming that dish I love into something profoundly different. Also, it was topped with fried chicken skin. Fried chicken skin is basically cheating. I’ve got my eye on you Le Bon Vivant.

Best Presentation:

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Just look at that. Molecular gastronomy isn’t exactly my bag, but look at it. My grandparents wouldn’t have even recognized that as food. De Haselderhof.

Best Tent:

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Best tent goes to Fameus. I love the visual theme of the Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls. The most confusing aspect of this is that this ISN’T a Mexican or Spanish restaurant — It’s Italian. Confusing, but beautiful. Such is art.

Lagniappe (A Little Something Extra):

In South Louisiana we have a phrase, Lagniappe, that people use when they give you just a little more — a little something extra. I loved the dish I had from Le Bon Vivant so much that I returned to Preuvenement later the same evening to taste the rest of the dishes offered by chef Chef Björn Dijkstra.

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Braised lambshank with Kruidenkorst.
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Tartar of herring with tafelzuren,
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Dutch shrimp with green beans and fois gras.
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LIVAR procureur with French cafe butter sauce.
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2 thoughts on “Feastivals Fieldtrip – Maastricht – Preuvenemint

  1. So many amazing choices!! I love that we get to “travel” and feel like we’re tasting your food with you through your images and writing. I always struggle with food festivals (I’m going to have to adopt the moniker of “feastivals” for them now.) I really want to eat some of everything and I have a huge fear of missing out I suppose. How do you go about narrowing down your choices to pick just the few dishes you end up eating?

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    1. I’m lucky in that I go to a lot of “feastivals” and in turn I see a lot of the same trucks come out. Right now it’s as simple as trying the trucks I haven’t before and just doing 3-4 dishes. I often bring friends along just so I can get pictures and opinions on a larger sample of food.

      With this trip to Maastricht I was really stuck by the same kind of panic that you describe. What should I eat here? There are so many choices! I went with my “gut” so to speak and at the end of the day I was always happier when I went with something wild a different over something that seemed really comfortable. If I could eat at this feastival again, I would pass on the shawarma and go instead with the veal and tuna cream that same tent was offering.

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